Solidarity with Soufra: dividuality and joint action with Palestinian women refugees
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AbstractBased on an exploratory study of Soufra, a women’s catering social enterprise in the Bourj al Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, we analyse how solidarity across difference can be organized. We conceptualize ‘difference’ not in terms of ‘whole’ individuals, but in terms of dividuals, the multiple roles and social positions that individuals occupy; this enables similarities between individuals of different ethnicities, nationalities and statuses to become apparent. We find that, despite their extreme and protracted marginalization, Soufra does not seek to organize solidarity relationships with co-resisters joining their struggle against oppressors. Rather, they initiate exchange relationships with different others via carefully managed impressions of similar dividualities (e.g. professional cooks and businesswomen) and different dividualities (e.g. having refugee status and lacking any citizenship). These encounters provide opportunities for solidarity relationships to be created and underlying cultural predispositions to be transformed. Whether these opportunities are taken up or rejected is dependent, at least to some extent, on the willingness of participants to allow such transformations to occur.
CitationSchwabenland C, Hirst A (2021) 'Solidarity with Soufra: dividuality and joint action with Palestinian women refugees', Organization, 29 (2), pp.324-344.
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